ROME, 11 Feb – RIA Novosti, Sergey Startsev. In Italy, the use of a vaccine against coronavirus infection, developed by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Oxford, has begun.
The first such vaccinations were given Thursday morning at a new vaccination center set up for vaccinations at the parking lot of Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, RaiNews24 reported. Today, the AstraZeneca vaccines will be used in a number of other locations in the Lazio metropolitan area, as well as in Tuscany and Piedmont. Other Italian regions, where this drug has already been delivered, due to technical problems and bureaucratic delays, at best, only next week should approve their own vaccination plans.
The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) on January 30th. At the same time, the regulator indicated that it should be applied mainly to persons aged 18 to 55 years. The first batch of this drug, containing 249 thousand doses, was delivered to the Apennines at the beginning of the week. In the coming days, Italy will receive almost 293 thousand more doses of the “Oxford” vaccine.
In Lazio, AstraZeneca is used to complete the vaccinations of doctors and medical personnel, and only citizens under 55 years of age who do not have serious health problems are vaccinated. In Tuscany and Piedmont, the vaccine will be administered in accordance with the newly revised national vaccination plan. At the direction of the Ministry of Health, AstraZeneca vaccinations will be given to teachers and school attendants, military personnel and police officers, as well as prison workers and prisoners. Again, we are talking only about persons under the age of 55.
The campaign for mass vaccination of the population against COVID-19 started in Italy on December 27, when the first vaccinations were given to doctors and medical personnel of the country's largest hospitals. In the first phase, only health workers were vaccinated, as well as nursing home staff and patients. Since January 14, all Italians over the age of 80 have also been vaccinated. Until now, only Pfizer / BioNThec and Moderna have been used in Italy.
Already at the first stage of vaccination, serious organizational problems emerged, largely related to the fact that the regional authorities were actually in charge of the campaign. It is not without reason that Mario Draghi, who is currently consulting on the formation of the new Italian government, has already noted the need to revise the entire logistics system of the vaccination campaign and create a single national digital platform for its effective implementation.
The Italian authorities have set the goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the population and achieving herd immunity in the fall. Italy now ranks first among EU countries in terms of the number of vaccinated citizens. More than 2.77 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been used in the country as of Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health. Over 1.24 million Italians received both injections of the coronavirus drug.